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Mediation Efforts in Attempt to Relieve UN-Hamas Tensions

By Jasmin Rasheed –UN Humanitarian Coordinator and Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Jamie McGoldrick met in Gaza on 6 March with senior Hamas officials Tawfiq Abu Naim, minister of the interior in the Hamas government, and Mohammad Dababesh, the head of Hamas’s General Intelligence Service.
The issues that were discussed in the meeting have remained confidential, yet high-level employees of aid organizations in Gaza believe the meeting addressed the need to establish the status of international aid workers in the enclave. This assessment is very realistic given the numerous incidents over the past months involving accusations of harassment of international aid workers by the Hamas government.
Several articles published in news outlets recently reported claims by aid workers that security officers in Gaza had put them through a lot of unnecessary trouble, including arrests and detentions under various pretexts, and searches through their belongings. In some cases, the organizations where the workers are employed were contacted with requests to receive private information of the employees, such as their salary, or personal information of donors.
Gazans have suffered a humanitarian crisis for many years, and conditions in the Strip have continuously worsened. The presence of aid workers and volunteers is critical to ensure the welfare of the civilian population in many aspects. The negative approach adopted by the government might demotivate these much-needed volunteers and dissuade them from coming to Gaza to provide aid and support.

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